As an increasing number of B2B technology buyers conduct their own research while buying, it is the personalization of solutions that can help the sales team within the buying cycle.
B2B buyers have become more consumer-like while purchasing, in that social media, peer reviews, and ads continue to play quite a significant role in the decision making the journey. B2B buyers are taking help from review sites to third-party experts, as well as peers on social media, to evaluate technology solutions. This has been the driving factor for personalizing sales approach.
With the advent of the Internet, B2B buyers are increasingly spending more time on researching solutions, comparing vendors, and reviewing products. One of the reasons that buyers admit for purchasing is that there was ample content to help them at each stage of decision making. Over 85% of buyers have made decisions based on the content they could research. But having more content can also backfire as a Gartner study reveals that the volume of content available is sometimes overwhelming using up 15% of buyers time during the buying cycle, to sort out the information.
Experts believe that prospects do appreciate the assistance of sales representatives who are armed with useful information. Over 60% of B2B buyers want sales reps to “demonstrate experience with or knowledge of their industry.” Vendors need to reach out at the right time with the correct information.
According to 2018 B2B buyers survey report by demand gen, 45% of buyers are spending more time researching purchases. The time between the first- and the third-month have become more critical point in decision-making as, during this time, a majority of research, evaluation, and outreach is done. It was during this time when B2B buyers evaluated solutions that fit with existing partners (46%); gathered preliminary information on pricing/costs (42%); conducted anonymous research on solutions (41%), accepted outreach from vendors (41%), sought input from peers (38%); and even developed an informal list of potential providers (38%).
Experts believe that the messages should focus on solutions that cannot only solve real problems but also increase ROI for the prospect. This thinking enables to tailor the message to the person or the company. Experts suggest that once the research by the buyer is done, it is up to the companies to provide demos that show easy installation and integration in the three-month time frame. For buyers, the most important factor while making is decision is deployment time/ease of use (77%). While for over 70% of buyers features, functionality and solving a pain point are the next two crucial decisions, they also give importance to reviews (65%) and sales team’s knowledge of insights into company’s particular problems (64%).
Marketers have now understood the importance of personalization and how it works. According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, over 90% of the top B2B content marketers already personalize the content for the specific decision-makers in at least one way.
For CMOs and marketers who are planning to focus and experiment with personalization, experts suggest that for a smooth shift, the teams must be divided. Experts recommend to let half the sales team continue business as usual, and the other half can personalize their sales approach. While measuring the results of each group, the CMO must consider the number of appointments set, customer conversions as well as the increase in business for the deals closed. When the results of personalization are reaped, then the department’s metrics can be revised and balance the KPIs between activities and achievements.
The concept of inside sales continues to evolve and to squeeze more results out of every call, so personalizing the approach is the only available solution.